Retirement beckons for Smoken Up

10:04 AM 01 Sep 2014 NZST
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Smoken Up
Smoken Up marking his 12th birthday with a party and cake
Paul Courts Photo
If we could hear it 'from the horse's mouth', it's pretty obvious what harness racing superstar Smoken Up will be wishing for.

With today (1st of September) the beginning of the Australian season, Smoken Up and his standardbred counterparts are celebrating their birthday.

Marking his 12th birthday with a party and cake at trainer Lance Justice's stable in Melton, Victoria, Smoken Up is on the verge of retirement.

To be more precise, the son of Tinted Cloud is due to have his last start at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.

Taking that into consideration, Smoken Up is likely to be wishing for a 'fairytale ending'...least that's what Justice and the gelding's connections are looking to achieve with the multi millionaire.

Justice was fortunate to enjoy a perfect end to former stable star Sokyola's career at Moonee Valley on June 22, 2007 when the son of Soky's Atom accounted for The Warp Drive and The Phantoms Guest.

"We were lucking enough to have a happy ending with Sokyola and with a bit of luck we can enjoy the same with Smoken Up at Tabcorp Park next Saturday night," Justice said.

"We will know how our chances are shaping up a little better on Tuesday when the fields come out and can see where he has drawn.

"I'm a realist and am fully aware it's unlikely to happen, but at the same time we can enjoy the ride, hope for a good draw and then hope for the best on race night.

"Whether he wins or not, it's going to be a joyful and sad occasion at the same time as it's the end of an era."

Successful upon debut for Justice at Yarra Valley on March 8, 2007, Smoken Up has registered a further 71 victories and 48 placings from 141 starts for earnings of $3,588,949 to be Australasia's third richest pacer behind Blacks A Fake ($4,575,438) and Im Themightyquinn ($4,567,456).

His wins include two Miracle Miles, four South Australia Cups, four Len Smith Miles and the Victoria Cup, with his best time of 1:48.5 coming at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 30, 2011.

Smoken Up has claimed 13 Group Ones across the Southern Hemisphere, won at 15 tracks and set numerous records, including becoming the first standardbred on this side of the equator to better 1:50.

PAUL COURTS
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